Monday, May 30, 2011

Tahoe Day Hike - Rubicon Trail - Vikingsholm - 5/29/11

View of Fannette Island and Emerald Bay from Trailhead

          Sarah and I set off from the empty Vikingsholm parking lot and descended along the paved road that descends toward the Rubicon Trail and Vikingsholm Castle itself. Although there are signs warning that the trail is steep, it is mainly there to deter extremely unfit tourists from making the trip, because by my standards it is a walk in the park. Fresh snow melt had filled the small streamlets cascading down the hillside which made for nice little waterfalls here and there. Within several minutes we were at the shore of Emerald Bay and Vikingsholm.
          During certain times of the year they offer tours of this wonderfully crafted Scandinavian Castle that has some great history. At the time of our visit the building was under construction and scaffolding obstructed all of the good views of the building itself. It is incredible, however, to walk the grounds and observe all of the ornate detailing that went into its craftsmanship.

Vikingsholm Under Construction

          From Vikingsholm we hiked along the Rubicon Trail which skirts along the west shore of Emerald Bay. We passed Parson Rock and headed towards the Boat Camp where we stayed a couple years ago on a canoe camping trip. (Click here to read my blog post on Emerald Bay Canoe Camping.) With all of the snow the landscape was dramatically different from when we visited previously in July of 2010.
          As we hiked the weather seemed to change every other minute, with light snowfall alternating with small bursts of sunshine. We ventured to Emerald Point and then veered off trail to navigate the circumference of the point itself. There are a couple of nice hidden beaches as well as some wind protected picnic areas along the shoreline. As a break in the weather came we found a nice spot to sit down and enjoy lunch. The sun brought with it spots of tropical blue to the lake.

View Looking up the West Shore of Lake Tahoe from Emerald Point

          As we started eating we watched as a white cloud cover quickly blew in from the northwest and within minutes we were in the thick of heavy snowfall and a cold wind. We donned our rain jackets and headed for what little tree protection we could find.
Then just as quickly as it started the snow let up and we were able to finish our lunch.
          We finished our navigation around Emerald Point stopping at by our favorite beach on the south side of Emerald Point.

Our Favorite Beach along Emerald Point

          We then returned along the Rubicon Trail back toward the car. As we approached Vikingsholm and the trail up to the parking lot we encountered the rest of the crowds. The parking lot was overflowing with people when we got there and we thankfully retreated back to camp leaving the brief moment of madness.


  1. Pretty smooth trailin' right there, having a great view of the bay, the castle, and the beach - all in their pristine goodness. Good thing the weather didn't ruin much of your hike. It would have been better though to see the castle when it's not under construction, but you still had a view of history. All the ornate detailing, the steel crafting, and all the qualities that make this castle precious must have been quite a sight to behold.

  2. The weather was actually a blessing in that it kept the masses away. I have been lucky enough to see the castle once before but only from Fannette Island. I'll surely make another visit. Thanks for stopping by.